Season Six, Episode One: Daddy’s Girl

“you’re so strong”, they say

as if I had a choice

as if there was any alternative.

you taught me to be strong,

and you were the strongest man I know.

you were my first best friend,

my truest friend

you got me when no one else did

a perk I guess of sharing some of the same DNA

you taught me how to properly dunk mini donuts into a glass of milk

tried to teach me to play the keyboard, 

but I was too impatient to learn.

you taught me to be gracious

told me that I was capable of the world and so much more

I learned to appreciate sports from you

learned to carry an intelligent conversation

how to make people laugh.

I inherited your stubbornness

the tendency to work too much.

I’m certain that my love of true crime came from you 

and I will miss watching our “murder mysteries” together 

because of you I’ve never felt short,

even though I’m the tiniest person in the family

confident in every step I take, head up because your daughter would never, could never, won’t ever walk with her head bowed down

you passed on your fierce pride,

along with your quick and ferocious temper

I think of you constantly, 

pushing my sadness aside because it does not bode well to dwell on tragedy

I hope to make you proud one day, if the human soul exists

if your human soul is somewhere out there

I hope that wherever you are, you smile and say 

“you see that strong and accomplished woman? that’s my baby girl, my Caker Boo.”
I love you, Dad.

                    –“Sunday, November 13, 2016 @ 7:28 pm”







George Chillious, 04/26/1944-11/13/2016

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Season Four, Episode Ten: A Tiny Rant

I think I do a pretty good job of balancing the funny and the serious here on this blog.  In fact, I try to write more about the good than the bad because I feel like people don’t want to read about downbeat things…because no one likes a Debbie Downer.  No one.  Don’t lie and say “yeah they do” because no one really likes a liar either.

Don’t be that guy.

So anyway…I don’t think I have ever really posted about my son outside of cute anecdotes.  I was so hesitant for a long time about even writing about him at all…but I felt like when I eventually did after not doing it for like four years, it would be the Internet version of being that girl who hid being pregnant by wearing hoodies for nine months and then showed up with a ten year old.  It would be like “whoa, where did that kid come from?” and this is a blog, not Maury.  I was even on the fence about using his real name.  One of my favorite blogs, Diary of a Mom, uses two pseudonyms for her daughters.  I considered using the name Noah for him, but fuck it…it felt weird to use a different name for him, so Nick it is.  If he gets embarrassed about me blogging about him, I’ll just tell him that all moms embarrass their kids and it builds character.  I’m all about telling him that the things he doesn’t like build character.  It’s my mom thing.

Nick and I.  He's pretty cool.

Nick and I. He’s pretty cool.

So Nick has ADHD.  He was diagnosed with it at the end of third grade.  I went to a therapist and we screened him and sure enough, he had it.  It explained all the things about him that drove me crazy–easily distracted, forgetting things (his homework, stuff for school, things he was told to do), jumping from task to task without finishing, not being able to focus, not finishing classwork, not listening when he was being spoken to, daydreaming, not following instructions…talking nonstop, constantly moving (some part of him would always be moving, even if he was sitting down), fidgeting, impatience, showing his emotions without restraint, interrupting conversations, and being unable to wait for things.  Apparently Nick was the textbook definition of a child with ADHD.  In fact, he was so good at ADHD that he wasn’t the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype or the predominately inattentive subtype–he was the combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive subtype.  He was also diagnosed with an aggressive behavior disorder too, because why the hell not?  It explained his crazy tantrums and temper.

My son is a brilliant, funny, and sweet child.  But he has a hard time functioning with his severe ADHD.  So I decided to try both the medication and therapy routes.  I love his therapist, Bekah.  She is an angel.  He looks forward to meeting with her and he says he likes to talk to her.  I am grateful for her.  Our family physician at the time of diagnosis until this past July (the clinic we go to uses residents, so we have a doctor for three years at a time) was amazing.  She truly cared about Nick and his situation.  We put him on Adderall, starting at the 5 mg dosage and then working up to 10 mg.

Anyone who has a child on Adderall or who takes Adderall themselves knows that appetite loss is a huge side effect.  Nick was functioning well on the 10 mg, but his appetite was non-existent.  Due to weight loss and the fact that he is 10 and a half and can’t afford to lose weight since he is bound to have a growth spurt soon, we had to lower the dosage to 5 mg for the summer.  And of course, we lost our amazing physician in July.  (Thank you, Dr. Kolp–you were such a great doctor.  I truly appreciate everything you did for us.)  I decided that we needed a permanent physician with all the things going on with Nick.  We have an appointment with her at the end of the month, which seemed like an okay thing but I think I have to try to get a hold of her much sooner than that.

Nick has anxiety, and it first really manifested in the beginning of June with his first visible panic attack.  We were referred to a child psychologist for it, because ADHD has a way of bringing their friends into the mix–in our case, it’s the aggressive behavior disorder and the anxiety.  We are on the waiting list to go in and see the child psychologist.  He doesn’t do well with crowds and this summer was hard on him.  He is still taking the 5 mg of Adderall, and school started two and a half weeks ago.  It hasn’t been a good start to the school year…the 5 mg is like him being off the medication entirely, and he is acting out in ways that are making me upset.

He has been losing his temper much more than usual, and has taken to punctuating his tantrums with swearing.  I know that kids swear.  I did it, we all did it, but you don’t swear at your mother or your grandparents.  He got in trouble in school yesterday for not paying attention and for not finishing his work, and got a written warning for it.  Naturally he forgot it at school (he has also forgotten his homework twice since the school year started) and decided to not tell me about it…and proceeded to forge my signature pretty badly.  He then lied to his teacher and principal and got a phone call home and a detention to serve next week after school.  I’m very disappointed in him because he should know better, yet it’s hard to be completely mad at him because I know that a lot of it has to do with his medication.  I didn’t tell his teacher about his ADHD because I assumed she knows about it since he has an IEP–I’m guessing that was a rookie mistake.  I will be writing her a letter tonight explaining his situation to her.

The next few days with be filled with phone calls to the new doctor, his therapist, and trying to secure a higher dosage of his medication.  He is currently grounded until further notice.  I am starting to feel the way I did back in the days before he was diagnosed–stressed, with a constant headache and upset stomach.  It’s very hard to watch your child and know that he wants to behave but he has a hard time trying to keep it together.  It’s hard being the parent of a child with ADHD sometimes not because of your child, but because of the community around you.  I hate when people tell me that ADHD isn’t real and Nick is just being a typical 10 year old boy.  No…he definitely is not.  I want to put these people in a room with him when he hasn’t taken his pills for days and then have them tell me that his behavior is normal.  I constantly have “Facebook physicians” telling me that I shouldn’t medicate him because he doesn’t need medication.  That’s like saying we shouldn’t vaccinate our children against dangerous and infectious diseases.  Cutting sugar and washing our clothes in plant based detergent (which is very expensive, by the way) and embracing a crunchy granola mom lifestyle isn’t going to magically make my son better.  My siblings all have it to a degree, and I think that I probably have a touch of it myself.  The best thing that I can do is help him to learn strategies for certain things in his life that are difficult for him to control, and help him embrace his strengths and work on his weaknesses.

And, of course, love him.  I don’t let his ADHD define him or let him use it as an excuse.  I tell him that he just happens to have ADHD, but it makes him more awesome than he already is.

I hope I didn’t sound whiny or dull.  I really just needed to vent after this long, frustrating day.  Thanks…XO.

Season Four, Episode Five: Sweet Bug

Love

“…and she loved a little boy very, very much–even more than she loved herself.”

-From The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

(Photo courtesy of Brittany Gidley Photography, Cleveland, OH

Copyrighted by Brittany Gidley Photography, 2015)

Season Three, Episode Eight: Summer Hiatus

So I’ve been away for months.

I have no excuses. None. I suck.

–BUT–

I have been busy living life with my friends, enjoying time with my sick dad, and being a mom. Enjoying all that summer has to offer and carpe-ing the diem.

I’ll share some pics.

And I broke my laptop charger last night. I’ll update you all once the new one arrives via Amazon 😘

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And a brief description of each photo:

1. Mommy/Son Time at the beach.
2. Playing in Lake Erie.
3. A bunch of pretty motherfuckers.
4. The Voice auditions (I didn’t make it through…their loss, not mine!)
5. Out with my boys!

Season Three, Episode Six: Curveball Thrown

Man, it’s been a while.  Like two months.  I feel like we went out on a really bad date and then I decided that things were too awkward for me to like your statuses on Facebook, favorite your Tweets, or call/text you back.

My bad.

Fret not, kiddos.  I’m back.

That's right.

That’s right.

Shit got a little real after that last post I wrote about the Single Chick Bucket List (which I have been trying to get done and will start to blog about in the near future).  Six days after that post was published, my dad was rushed to the hospital for severe swelling and leakage in his neck.  He received emergency surgery the next day, and on Valentine’s Day (because nothing good ever happens on that fucking day) he was diagnosed with advanced stage throat cancer.  So needless to say things have been quite the rollercoaster since then–with the exception of a week and a half at the end of February, he has been an inpatient at the Cleveland Clinic and its sister hospitals.  Three weeks ago he had to have his larynx, lymph nodes, both thyroid glands, and a major vein removed from his neck–he has a trach and hopefully in a few weeks he can begin to try to learn to talk again with speech therapy.  Once things settle down and he gains the weight he lost (he was admitted to the hospital at 115 pounds;  he is 6’4″), he will start radiation.  He is supposed to have a lung and bone biopsy in the upcoming days, and hopefully things slow down a little and the results come back good.

My dad has taught me a lot about strength in the past two months.  The things I worried about in January seem so damn trivial compared to what we are dealing with now.  My dad being sick really made me get over my ex–seeing him still sucks ass in ways that I can’t eloquently describe, but I changed shifts in the shift rebid we had at work and I won’t have to worry about seeing him except for an hour or two depending on my schedule.  For some reason I thought that maybe my ex would come up to me and ask me how I was doing or how my dad was doing–his younger sister has stage IV cancer and I love her like the sister I never had, so I thought maybe he would show a shred of compassion.  Yeah…I was wrong.  He acts like I am invisible.  So I had to suck that up and tell myself right then and there that his lack of being a nice person just shows that there was no point in being brokenhearted over him.  I have learned to appreciate my friends and I love them all so incredibly much.  The texts, hugs, kind words, and phone calls have all meant more than you would think.

But strength.  My father has faced every step of this bullshit with a positive attitude.  He smiles and cracks jokes and just holds it together for our family.  I think maybe he always knew that this was a possible consequence of being a smoker for nearly 60 years.  I did, but I never really thought it would happen.  It has made us stronger as a family, it has made me stronger in the fact that I have realized that life isn’t a given.  Things change.  Moments occur that can shake our every belief and thought to the core.  I laugh a lot more and I have decided to become more self-assured and more self-aware then I was before.  If I don’t like something, I make it known.  If I don’t want to do something, I don’t do it.  I decided that you don’t get anywhere in life by shrinking back in the background and not making waves–I’ve always been an extrovert, but I hate confrontation and I hate hurting other people’s feelings.  I have also decided that if I know what I want, I should try to figure out how to get it.  There are no do-overs, no rewind button (old school VHS reference), no backspace.  Everything is constantly moving forward and you have to move forward with it.

It’s like the Modest Mouse lyric, “And we’ll all float on okay”.  We need to stop taking everything so goddamn serious and just let it go.  Time hurtles on through the great void, with or without us…just stop worrying about the little things and let go.

It’s good to be back.  I missed writing, but I figured that I would find my words when I was ready.

Lamp tripping

Quick Blurb:

I started a new shift last week and I’m adjusting to working during the day like a normal person.  No more 8 pm to 4 am…I don’t know what it’s like to be awake during the day and asleep at night.  It’s like the world flip-flopped itself on me.  I feel more rested and maybe I’ll get more accomplished.  And accomplished means more blogging, which is always excellent.

I just have to get used to it.  Sunlight?  What’s that?

when did they put a lamp here

Season Two, Episode Seven: Birthday Candles For My Dad

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Today is my dad’s 69th birthday. I am probably the definition of a daddy’s girl. I’m crazy about my dad and I love him to pieces. He’s my best friend. As far back as I can remember he’s been my partner in crime.

My parents are twenty years apart, so my dad was 41 when I was born. His age never stopped him from chasing me in the grass in our backyard or lifting a very giggly and squirmy five-year-old Me up so that I could touch the ceiling with my fingertips (my dad is 6’4″). As I grew older, I loved sitting with him (me on the couch, Dad in his recliner) as he leisurely smoked a cigarette from his green pack of Kool 100 Super Longs and we watched old reruns of the black and white classics–to this day, I still love watching The Andy Griffith Show and Bewitched with him.

My dad would also sit and tell me and my little brother stories of his childhood on his grandparents’ farm in Morris Chapel, Tennessee and of his time spent in Cleveland at his uncle’s house. I loved hearing how life used to be in the ’40s and ’50s and looking through the old photo albums at my grandparents (my grandpa died when my dad was very young, my grandma died when I was a baby) and my great-grandparents and my great-great grandparents. My dad is predominantly Cherokee-American, so I loved seeing my great-great grandmother and her long white braid that stretched to the ground (my dad swears she lived to be 105) and my great-grandparents’ high cheekbones and stunning profiles. He graduated from high school in Washington, D.C. in 1962 and told me about the dark days of when JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcolm X were all assassinated. He remembers Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement and he fought in Vietnam. He’s lived through thirteen US Presidents, from FDR to Barack Obama.

He’s still as funny and as smart as when I was a little girl. It’s hard for me to think of my dad as a senior citizen, because he is anything but. He’s still the head machinist at his job. He still smokes those Kool 100s. His favorite show is The Big Bang Theory. He loves being a grandpa and a great-grandpa (I have a 28 year old niece from one of my older half-brothers. She has a little girl herself.). He still criticizes the Browns every football season (he’s a Redskins fan) and reads The Plain Dealer daily and watches Jerry Springer and Maury every day after work because their insanity makes him feel like his day couldn’t be as bad as those guests’ are. He still encourages me to live my dreams and to keep working hard. He taught me that hard work and a strong education are the two most important things that a person can have next to their family. He taught me how to play Monopoly when I was five (no hotels or houses and I always got Boardwalk and Park Place and somehow won every time) and how to dance by standing on his feet in the kitchen while “My Girl” by The Temptations played on the local oldies station. He taught me to really appreciate music and told me I got my voice from my grandma. I am incredibly lucky to have him as a dad 🙂

Happy Birthday, Daddy ❤